Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Individuals Can Make a Difference: A View from India

10:45 AM EST on February 9, 2010

We turn to the Streetsblog Network for a little inspiration this morning, courtesy of Robin Chase -- author of the blog Network Musings and former CEO of Zipcar. Chase shares a story from a friend in India, Vinay Jayaswal, who believes that meaningful change on the most overwhelming issues can, and must, begin with the actions of individuals:

my_india_flag_child.jpgJust think what he could accomplish if he put his mind to it. (Photo: Network Musings)

The moral of the story for Vinay is that people
want to help, want to do the right thing, want to improve society. They
just don't have the confidence to act and take the first step. They
can't figure out the first step; they think the process will be
complicated and difficult. They think no one will follow. They expect
government to be the enabler.

Just do it, says Vinay. Think
globally.
His most pressing issues were environment, sanitation, and
health -- intractable issues for the common Indian. Act individually.
Vinay isn't going to wait for government. He believes individuals can
work together to help themselves. His budding idea will include
a website and hope to spur Indian youth to take action on issues that
affect their daily lives.

Many people in India are making those individual efforts. In the nation's most populous city, Mumbai, they've organized a Car-Free Day for February 21st. It's the first such effort in Mumbai, which suffers from some of the world's most chronically congested traffic conditions.

And in the small town of Ferezopur, on the India-Pakistan border, temporary street closures for a festival inspired a few individuals to push for a permanent car-free zone. Local merchants were skeptical at first, but have been happy with the results, and the zone may eventually expand.

These are just a couple of examples of how, even in a nation of 1.17 billion people, individuals can take responsibility and drive progress -- if they just choose to act rather than wait for someone else to take the lead.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

NYC Debuts Public E-Bike Charging for Delivery Workers

Finally, they’re taking charge! The city’s first public e-bike charging station opened in Cooper Square on Thursday — the start of an overdue six-month pilot that is part of a “Charge Safe Ride Safe Action Plan” for delivery workers that Mayor Adams announced last year.

March 1, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Have Questions

What's an optimal rebate to get people to buy e-bikes without wasting money on those who were going to buy one anyway?

March 1, 2024

To Recruit Transit Workers, More Than Just Higher Pay Is Needed

Labor shortages continue threatening public transit systems, and a new report adds another layer to the conversation.

February 29, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Streets for Skateboards

Aaron Breetwor on skateboards for transportation and designing streets for safer skateboarding.

February 29, 2024

Agencies Need to Use Federal Funding to Buy Land for Transit Oriented Development

Transit agencies do not prioritize transit-adjacent housing development often because they lack funding to acquire land.

February 29, 2024
See all posts